The Millstone Times May 2022

Easy habits to help you live longer- Women who consumed the most veg gies and fruit had a 46 percent lower chance of dying over a five-year period compared with those who ate them infrequently, according to a University of Michigan study of 700 participants in their 70s. (Intake was measured by assessing blood levels of certain plant compounds.) Residents of Okinawa, Ja pan, which boasts one of the world’s highest centenarian ratios (about 50 per 100,000 people, compared with only ten to 20 in the United States), are living proof you should eat your veggies. Older Okinawans have eaten a plant-based diet most of their lives, and almost all grow or once grew a garden. You snooze and don’t lose- Residents of Ikaria, Greece, a small island in the Mediterranean with a high population of centenarians, are fond of an after noon nap, and it turns out it’s good for their tickers. Harvard researchers stud ied more than 23,000 people for six years and found that those who regularly took a 30-minute siesta had a 37 percent lower chance of dying from heart disease than did those who stayed awake all day. You can run a good clip-A 2012 study in Archives of Internal Medicine con firmed that physical fitness in midlife can predict how healthy you’ll be later. After following 19,000 middle-aged adults, it found that the most fit were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s, certain cancers, heart disease, and type 2 dia betes in their 70s and beyond. The most in-shape men had fitness levels the equivalent of running an eight- minute mile; the women had levels equal to logging a mile in ten minutes. “People who remain active throughout their life span, whether that’s running, walking, or riding bikes, live longer,” says Jeremy Walston, MD, a professor of geriatric medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. You make sure it means something- A study in Psychological Science found that people who feel they have a sense of purpose in life are less likely to die over a 14-year period. “Make a new friend, pick up a new hobby, or volun teer,” says Dr. Leipzig. “My great-uncle, who is in his mid-90s, still works in his wood shop almost every day,” adds Dr. Walston. Your trim where it counts- Women with a waist of 37 inches or more had a life expectancy that was five years lower after age 40 than did women with a waist of 27 inches or less, found one study. For men, a waist of 43 inches or more was linked to a three-year decrease in life expectancy compared with those with a waist of 35 inches or less. Trimming even a few inches from your pants size may have a powerful health impact. “I tell my patients that whenever possible, walk, don’t drive,” says Dr. Leipzig. You’ve got connections- Feeling connected to family and friends keeps people engaged and facilitates healthy aging, says Dr. Walston. “Being isolated works in the other direction and can lead to chronic illnesses.” In Sardinia, Italy, an other tiny Mediterranean island with a large centenarian population, friend ship is key, according to Dan Buettner, a National Geographic fellow who has traveled the world to study its longest-living people. “Life is very social. People meet on the street daily and savor each other’s company. They count on each other. If someone gets sick, a neighbor is right there,” he wrote in the Wall Street Journal. You surround yourself with healthy people- Connections of any kind are im portant, but if the people you associate with are healthy and motivated, this can be a huge boost to your own longevity. The New England Journal of Med icine claims that if your friends gain weight, your own chances of doing so increase by a whopping 57%. This doesn’t mean you should shun your less healthy friends, of course; look into some fitness activities you can do together. It’s a win-win. You’re a regular tea drinker- Drinking one or two cups of tea a day is great for your heart. Both green and black tea contain catechins, which relax blood ves sels. However, you should be making the tea yourself; in ready-to-drink teas, most of the catechins have probably dissolved already, so they don’t have quite the same heart-healthy power. also warns that putting milk in your tea could also negate its health value. You avoid soda- This other popular caffeine-filled beverage is pretty much on the opposite end of the health spectrum as tea. Drinking soda even once a What Makes a Centenarian? continued from page 17...

day doubles your risk of met abolic syndrome, which can cause heart disease, diabetes, and weight gain. Even scarier, the sweeteners used in soda— both natural and artificial—can train your taste buds to crave more sweet food and drink. And don’t fall for the “diet soda” trap either; its effects on your health are virtually the same. You do your own chores- Keep your house clean and your body healthy all at once. Spending an hour doing an active chore, such as vacuuming or washing the windows, can burn almost 300 calories! According to a study of adults between ages 70 and 90, making this a habit can lower your risk of death by 30 percent. That’s worth the slight hassle of doing chores. You’re a purple-eater- It seems random, sure, but apparently eat

My mom- Dolly Marchitelli 103 years old!

ing purplish-colored foods can give you a major health boost. And no, we’re not talking about grape-flavored candy or ice cream. We’re talking about the grapes themselves, blueberries, or red wine. All of these are loaded with poly phenols, which can reduce the risk of both heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Eat ing both blueberries and purple grapes can also improve your brain function and memory, so eat up. Living with a Centenarian- I thought my grandmother lived a long life at 97, but my mom outlived her by six years. She passed last year at 103. Her older sister passed at 102, the year before. One thing I know is my grandmother ate healthy, pretty much nothing out of a can. My mom ate healthy pretty much all of her life, opting for fresh food rather than anything in a can, and when she snacked, say on potato chips, she might have eaten a handful and never more. I don’t remember her eating a lot of candy or junk food. She worked hard taking care of five children and often helped with the outside work. She never drank soda, never smoked, was always around people, liked an occasional glass of red wine, and was functional until she was 102 years old. If it weren’t for a fall and hip surgery, I feel she would have been with us longer then 103 ½ years. The last year of her life she couldn’t walk due to the hip surgery she had to undergo. Her short-term memory was pretty much gone, but she could tell you stories all about her past up until the week before she died. We were lucky to have her for that long. She got to know her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Best of all, she remembered every one of us! A true centenarian plus! Centenarians generally share the following characteristics: • Almost all are healthy enough to live independently until at least the age of 90. • Few are obese. • Most have never smoked or smoked very little. • None drink heavily, if at all. • They are physically active. • Almost all have many close relationships. • Many are religious. • Most (95 percent) make it into the 90’s with their mental abilities intact. • At least 1/3 are free from dementia at 100 or older.

42 The Millstone Times

May 2022

Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online